No. 10 Tennessee loses 73-60 to No. 1 Stanford
(AP Photo/Wade Payne)
By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee coach Holly Warlick couldn't believe what she was seeing.
Now the 10th-ranked Lady Vols want to make sure she never has to again.
Tennessee shot just 31.9 percent and missed its first 12 attempts from 3-point range Saturday in a 73-60 loss to No. 1 Stanford.
But the lack of offense didn't bother Warlick nearly as much as the lack of effort.
"The whole game I was in disbelief because we did not affect Stanford one bit," Warlick said.
The past week has shown the Lady Vols they have a long way to go to catch up to the nation's top teams. Tennessee had lost 76-53 at No. 3 Baylor on Tuesday before squandering an opportunity Saturday to beat a top-ranked team at home for the first time since a 77-72 victory over Louisiana Tech on Jan. 22, 1996.
In the Baylor game, Tennessee missed its first 11 shots to fall behind 17-0 and trailed 41-16 at the intermission, its largest halftime deficit in school history.
The Lady Vols shot 22 of 69 against Stanford and missed their first 12 attempts from 3-point range.
What bothered the Lady Vols most of all was that they let their struggles on offense affect their productivity on defense.
"We let our offense dictate our defense," Tennessee forward Cierra Burdick said. "I feel like I'm a broken record because I said the same exact thing against Baylor. You would think we would have gone back to the drawing board and fixed that, but apparently we haven't. That's what hurts so bad. We had a great opportunity in front of us to beat the No. 1 team in our house and we just couldn't get the job done."
Stanford won for only the second time in 13 trips to Knoxville. The Cardinal hadn't won at Tennessee since an 82-65 victory on Dec. 15, 1996.
Bashaara Graves had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Tennessee (7-3). Meighan Simmons added 12 points, while Ariel Massengale and Burdick had 11 points each.
The Lady Vols had no answers for Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike, who had 21 points, 19 rebounds and five assists to set career highs in the latter two categories.
Stanford's Amber Orrange scored 14 points. Toni Kokenis and Bonnie Samuelson each added 11 points and Joslyn Tinkle had 10 points for the Cardinal (11-0).
Tennessee has seen all it wants of the Ogwumike family the past couple of years. Ogwumike's older sister, Nneka Ogwumike of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, had scored 42 points in Stanford's 97-80 victory over Tennessee last year.
"One thing Nneka didn't do was get a win here at Tennessee, so I wanted to one-up her," Ogwumike said. "It was a great game."
The Lady Vols might have disagreed.
Warlick questioned her team's intensity and was more disappointed in this performance than she was after the Baylor game. She hopes the past two games have shown her team what it takes to beat elite programs.
"You've got to have a relentless effort and a big heart," Warlick said. "We didn't play with energy tonight. You've got to make your own breaks, and we're not doing things to make our own breaks. We're throwing the ball up there and hoping it goes in. You're not going to win like that. You've got to affect them on the defensive end, and in big games we have not done that. It's my job to make sure we straighten that out and change that."
Stanford grabbed a 33-21 halftime lead by relying on Ogwumike and capitalizing on Tennessee's cold shooting.
After a Burdick jumper tied the score 8-8 with 14:44 left in the first half, Stanford went on a 13-2 run. Tennessee missed 12 consecutive shots at one point during that Stanford run.
Tennessee cut the lead to 10 early in the second half, but Stanford answered with an 11-2 run.
The Lady Vols chipped away at the 19-point deficit by picking up the tempo and got the lead down to nine when Burdick made one of two free throws with 8:43 left.
"Our speed is something we can use to our advantage," Simmons said. "I think early in the game we came out slower than we should have, and I feel like we should have put the pedal to the metal earlier because we had spurts in the second half where we actually looked good running. That's what Tennessee does. We get the ball out and we run."
Tennessee's comeback didn't last long.
Ogwumike answered the Burdick free throw with a putback on Stanford's next possession, and the margin didn't drop below 10 points again.
Even though Tennessee's offense improved in the second half, the Lady Vols couldn't make enough stops.
"When you put on Tennessee and Lady Vol across your chest, you're supposed to play with heart and passion," Burdick said. "When you don't come out and play with that, it hurts."
Updated December 22, 2012